2 SEPTEMBER 1972, Page 22

Abolish the Olympics

Sir, — "The Foreign Office hopes fervently that the Olympic authorities will sort out their own muddle" (report in an evening paper last week, referring to opposition to Rhodesian participation in the Olympic Games) — a typically impertinent remark from the Foreign Office, which is mainly responsible for these " muddles." The first murmurs against Rhodesian participation (which had been agreed by all last year, subject to conditions with which the Rhodesians have complied), emanated, only a week or so ago, from the British Foreign Office itself, from which all the subsequent embarrassment has stemmed. Why did no one object sooner? It was the same with the Pearce Commission in Rhodesia. Having arrived at a settlement with the Rhodesian government, the Foreign Secretary still deemed it necessary to attempt carrying out the so-called 'Fifth Principle.' The bungling of this exercise by the British authorities put everybody back into Square One. Our Foreign Secretary was then reported as saying "It is now up to the Rhodesians to find a solution!" Meanwhile, the decision, just reported, of the International Olympic Committee, under pressure incited by the British Foreign Office, to exclude Rhodesia from the Olympic Games, must be one of history's most contemptible examples of submission to blackmail since that of Pontius Pilate. If games are as important as so many people seem to think, the position would be tragic, were it not so ludicrous.

What does the Foreign Office really want? Is it surprising that it has for so long been held in low esteem by so many? Peter Fleetwood-Hesheth The Manor House, Sale, Mr Liverpool